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SHORT BIO OF EGAL

EGAL (Equality for Gays and Lesbians) is a new organization established on November 3, 2003, by a group of enthusiast. Recognizing the current need something to be done about the current situation of the expanding gay community in Macedonia and supported by HERA-Skopje as well as ISC (Institute for Sustainable Communities), working solely on gay and lesbian related issues focusing on health related LGBT issues.

The organization was officially registered February 13, 2004. and became member of ILGA in November 2004, member of MHRN (Macedonian Harm Reduction Network) from the beginning 2005 Now EGAL is NGO with 3 sectors: LGBT Health, LGBT Culture and Resurge and antihomophobia sector.
Mission of EGAL is to improve sexual health and quality of living on LGBT population, and overcoming homophobia in Macedonian society, through development on sexual and psycho-social health to LGBT people and their family, promotion of LGBT culture, and education of LGBT people and all population in Macedonia

Summary of EGAL’s past activities:

  • “Gay Info Line” for providing information about HIV/AIDS and STIs. This project is done in co ordinance with HERA-Skopje. The project is funded by ISC (Institute for Sustainable Communities). It start May 2003 and it is still in function with Global Found activities.

  • PER report (Peer Ethnographic Research Report) done with PSI-Romania. A regional research of the MSM community in 4 Balkan countries (Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Kosovo), mainly focusing on HIV/AIDS and STI’s. (www.psi.ro)

  • RiskNet project founded by PSI-Romania. A safer sex promotion project for condom and lubricant distribution as well as HIV/AIDS education is done through organizing educational “parties”.(www.psi.ro)

  • Global Found activities for “Prevention of HIV transmission among MSM” are coordinating by EGAL. Started November 2004 (www.hera.org.mk)

  • Behavior and serological resurge in Global Fund activities coordinating by RZZZ (Republic Institute for Health Protection) among MSM in Macedonia.

  • Resurge about “Gay culture and culture of living and sexual culture among LGBT people in Macedonia” founded by C.O.C. Netherlands and collaboration with NVO MASSO

  • Dzunica festival “Film and art festival” for LGBT population (December 2005- May 2006) founded by C.O.C.Nederlands

  • Dzunica festival “Film and art festival” for LGBT population 2007 (March 2006- September 2007) founded by C.O.C.Nederlands

  • Resurge about “Integration of health question of LGBT population in government health politic in Central and East Europe – faze 2” supported by ILGA- Europe

  • Resurge among MARA( Most At Risk Adolescents) population with University “Ciril I Methody”, Institute of Anthropology and Ethnology in Macedonia supported by UNICEF. (Started, August 2006)

  • In a VCCT part, EGAL is completely response for outreach VCCT among MSM population in Macedonia, coordinating by NGO H.E.R.A. and Republic Institute for Health Protection. Members of EGAL where included in work group for Outreach Strategy. From EGAL, 6 members successfully completed VCCT Outreach training and will be involved as a Peer counselor in those activities.

  • Documentation of breaking sexual and health rights among MSM and SW, project on MHRN, cooperation with NGO MASSO, NGO CHCR, NGO HOPS, supported by Institute for Open Society in Macedonia (Started November 2006)

This is the part of strategy where we will work and witch group and subgroup (MSM) will be reaching

1. As in the previous work with MSM population, the focus is placed on male non-heterosexual activity and on anal and oral intercourse, regarding their sexual orientation or emotional connection. Gay men are only a part of the whole group in which are included men that at least once in their life had sex with another men in different social conditions (prisons, army, boats…) and reasons (curiosity, material gods, experimenting). As a result of various traditions in which sexual contact is forbidden until the wedding night especially for women, the sexual need is often compensated with another men, by their own free choice, but in some cases even violence is involved. In these case, very often the groups mix - those who identify themselves as gay and those who are not gay but only ‘fuck queers’ (as they call themselves) and communication and flow of information is establish although they have different sexual identification.

From the reasons above, and because its ‘shameful’, lots of people are looking for excuse for their actions and are going as far as asking for symbolic amount of money. The biggest part of this group of people does not classify neither as gay nor as SW although they are aware of their actions and have active role. This is very common in Roma’s community and just because of that, EGAL opened special office in biggest Roma’s society Shuto Orizari in Skopje focusing on MSM issues among HIV/AIDS . Exactly these people are considered as MSM population. In this case, we exclude persons who exist by consciously providing services as masseurs in beauty salons and advertise in news paper who accepts them self as SW and the communication is easer.


However, thanks to the previous work and outreach expiries, EGAL has very good network with almost every different group of MSM people.

The gatekeepers from EGAL are involved:

(Places where looking for partners)
- cruising areas
- internet
- clubs and bars

(Ethnical structure)
- Macedonians
- Roma people
- Albanians

It is very interesting that ethnical status is not important for majority of MSM people even they prefer to have sexual partners from other nationalities.


EGAL is member of AIDS Action Europe.


 
 
 

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